Justice League (2017)

  • Time: 121 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
  • Director: Zack Snyder
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons

Storyline:

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes-Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash-it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

2 reviews

  • Sigh. Whatever hopes were made resurgent by the critical and commercial success of this summer’s Wonder Woman are extinguished by Justice League, which follows the events of last year’s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and serves to further expand the DCEU with the introduction of several new superheroes, specifically Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.

    The slo-mo opening montage surveys the emotional wreckage wrought by the Man of Steel’s demise. The people of Gotham and Metropolis are feeling adrift and hopeless and, without Superman protecting the planet, they’re now vulnerable to threats terrestrial and otherwise, the latest arriving in the form of Steppenwolf (voiced by CiarĂ¡n Hinds) and his army of metallic mosquitos named Paramedons. Steppenwolf is on the hunt for three ancient boxes known as Mother Boxes which, when combined, become an apocalyptic power source.

    Naturally, the horned villain needs vanquishing but it will take more than Bruce Wayne’s Batman (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince’s Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to do it. Thus the two superheroes endeavour to assemble a superhero squad. First to be recruited is Barry Allen aka The Flash (Ezra Miller), a young whippersnapper who’s as fast as lightning with a father (Billy Crudup) in jail and possessed of a plethora of phobias. Then there’s the other accidental superhero Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher), a former college football star rebuilt with robot parts by his father (Joe Morton) after a car accident. Lastly there’s Victor Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the long-haired, heavily tattooed, alcohol-swilling, bit of rough who has the power to command the seas.

    Even taking its production woes into consideration – extensive reshoots, co-screenwriter Joss Whedon taking over for director Zack Snyder when Snyder stepped down following his daughter’s death – there’s no excusing the sheer shoddiness of the final product. Narratively it’s a rudderless patchwork resembling a series of “meanwhiles” – meanwhile, back in Central City, Barry visits his father in prison; meanwhile, back in Themyscira, the Amazonians fight in vain to prevent Steppenwolf from absconding with one of the Mother Boxes; meanwhile, back in Atlantis, Mera (Amber Heard) exchanges expository words with Aquaman after they fail to protect another of the Mother Boxes; meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is still reeling over the death of her love; meanwhile, back in wherever, something else is happening. Nothing coalesces and, once again, one gets the all-too-familiar feeling that the studio is trying to shove pieces together that are simply not designed to fit.

    Moreover, for all its reported $300 million budget, Justice League looks cheaply made. The CGI is clumsy and glaringly obvious to the point of distraction and, though the DCEU has always favoured a darker aesthetic in comparison to Marvel’s, the murkiness is such that one wonders if every gaffer and lighting technician was unavailable during the production of this film. Despite the injection of jokes by Whedon, Justice League remains a mirthless slog.

    To be fair, Justice League has a singular remarkable sequence that finds the newly gathered team confronting an enemy of their own making, one who is far more fearsome than Steppenwolf. For a brief shining moment, Justice League promises to turn into something provocative and intriguing but, alas, it slips back into bloat and shapelessness. At least Gadot maintains interest – as she proved with her brief appearance in Batman vs. Superman and her stand-alone Wonder Woman film, she is far and away the DCEU’s best asset (with Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn a close second) but she is clearly slumming it here. Gadot is admittedly more fetishised here than she was in either of her previous appearances in the franchise, though let it not be denied that Snyder is an equal opportunity objectifier – Momoa and another cast member are needlessly but appreciatively barechested.

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  • “I had a dream. It was the end of the world”. So quips Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne, the main corroborator in Justice League (my latest review).

    Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg join forces to try and stop Steppenwolf and his evil band of Parademons (aliens that look like insects). That’s the gist of “League”, a flick possibly made for the younger, more zealot, comic crowd.

    Look, I don’t pretend to know a lot about films of the DC publisher nature. And to be truthful, I’m not the biggest fan of said films. You know what though, I sorta dug 2017’s Justice League. Rooted in comic relief, saturated in scorched, cartoon violence, and containing an all-star selection of established superheroes, “League” is just plain fun.

    Justice League at a budget of roughly $300 million, is supposedly one of the most expensive movies ever made. It makes sense. Every shot is littered with special effects and there’s also a host of high-profile actors that just had to get paid by Warner Bros. (Affleck, Jeremy Irons, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, and Diane Lane to name a few).

    “League’s” director is Zack Snyder. I liked his latest and Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice but for different reasons. “Dawn of Justice” is dark, with broodiness, a plot over plot stature, and the emergence of Ben Affleck as a credible Batman. Justice League on the other hand, is goofy, not as epic, and not quite as self-serious.

    Snyder, who had a little help from Joss Whedon (Joss contributed some re-shoots towards post-production), fashions a more solid use of three dimensional space, some tighter editing, and some tighter storytelling than in his previous endeavors. “League” is trimmed down to a swift two hours. It weaves all the superhuman’s stories until everyone comes together for a merrymaking, elaborate battle. Bottom line: If you liked this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, you’ll probably embrace the jocular Justice League as well. Rating: 3 stars.

    Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

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